Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



All of My Friends

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Gunmoke

Yummm!
Though we lived at the back of beyond, the modern world did at times intrude.
Certainly it was there in the tools we used and, increasingly, in our entertainment.
Sometimes, miraculously, in both at the same time.
It was that way when we got our first ever television.
I remember it well. A large unit which stood on its own stubby legs and emitted a magical black and white picture. Mom would turn it on in the morning and I would sit and watch.
The Indian Head Test Pattern.
For hours.
That picture was amazing. It never occurred to me that it was unchanging.
It was there. I stared at it.
Okay, I was really waiting for ‘The Friendly Giant’ to come on.
But Mom would craftily switch on the set long before the program aired and I was caught. Snared by the light that flickered from the magical box. Her little 'dear' in the headlights.
It was the first ever electronic baby-sitter.
What genius!
As time went by, we discovered that, with an enormous antennae perched at the very top of the tall tower on the hill which rose to the north of us, we could miraculously get . . . two channels. The variety: endless. The choices: unlimited.
Sundays were the best.
On Sunday evening, after dinner, there was a whole line up of goodies. First was The Disney's Wonderful World of  Colour (in black and white), followed by Ed Sullivan Show, and finally, if I had been really good, Bonanza!
Surprisingly, I watched it often. It was amazing how a week’s worth of mischief could be erased by the advent of Sunday evening.
Peace filled the land, and flickering light filled our living room. We were glued to the set, as adventure after adventure unrolled before us.
But at some time during the week was the best program of all. The one I waited breathlessly for. The show with the best and biggest of heroes. And the nicest horses.
Gunsmoke.
Sheriff Dillon was my hero.
But I loved Chester, with his limp. I just knew that, when I got older, I would marry Chester.
Okay, my knowledge was sadly lacking, but the spirit was there!
There was only one hitch to my love of this program.
My pronunciation.
I couldn’t say it.
If Mom made the mistake of telling me a wee bit too early in the day that it was a Gunsmoke night, I would walk around all day chanting, “Gunmoke! Gunmoke!”
And I do mean all day.
It probably got a little . . . irritating.
My Mom would try her ‘Mommy’ best to help me. She would kneel in front of me and say, and I quote, “GunSSSmoke. GunSSSmoke.”
I would stare at her and move my mouth with hers.
She would repeat. “GunSSSmoke. GunSSSmoke.”
She would smile at me encouragingly. “GunSSSmoke. GunSSSmoke.”
Expectant silence.
I would open my mouth.
Mom would nod.
“SSSgunmoke! SSSgunmoke!
I never really noticed her disappointment. I was too happily watching my hero of heroes.
Sheriff Dillon.
On Gunmoke.

8 comments:

  1. When I lived with my grandparents in Tulsa for a few years, I have fond memories of Matt Dillon's backend as it would fill the screen along with the title at the beginning of the show.
    I thought Miss Kittie was way cool, and didn't realize until much,much later that she was a woman of questionable virtue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mmmm . . . Matt Dillon's backend . . . :)
      It was years before I realized what she was. Sheriff Dillon and the other men always treated her with such respect.

      Delete
  2. This was my husband's favorite show growing up, and he loves it to this day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. We didn't get a television until late - and my watching was severely monitored. It didn't go on until after dinner. The channels were selected by my parents. And in no circumstances could television intefere with homework or bed time.
    No gunmoke. Or smoke.
    And to this day I haven't developed the television habit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd say I'm sorry for you, except that I'm not. You're probably much better off! :)

      Delete
  4. My first love was Michael Landon on Bonanza and my all time favorite show Little House on The Prairie. I used to watch Bonanza and Gunsmoke with my dad. I love those memories!

    ReplyDelete

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